1114 views | Kenechukwu Ofomah | March 7, 2021
Awka – There appears to be some kind of disagreement over whether the three bridges built in the Awka Capital Territory, by the administration of incumbent Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, are strong and safe for motorists to ply.
The three bridges located at Amawbia Junction, Kwatta Junction and Aroma Junction, were completed and commissioned in 2015 by the Obiano administration.
Sometimes around 2017, alarm was raised over the unhealthy condition of the bridges by the opposition due to cracks observed on its parts as well as the heavy traffic experienced under the flyovers since they were constructed.
Some engineers had voiced out what they described as a very shoddy job done by the government on the bridges which they said, is unfit to carry heavy duty trucks and other articulated vehicles.
According to them, the job is a very bad one, considering the bogus sum of 16 billion naira which the state government said the bridges cost the state.
Over the past week, pictures of cracked parts of the bridge surfaced online, with a call on motorists to avoid using the bridges.
According to an Engineer registered with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Engr Tony-Uche Ezekwelu, the ‘over-bloated’ 16 billion naira Awka bridges are actually bad and already cracking down in just 6years.
“The bridge is very poorly designed as it did not solve the teething traffic problem experienced at the Aroma junction. I was part of this government and I know that there were modifications done at various points. This is very unfortunate. Initially I thought the media publications about the bridge were false propaganda and photoshop by the opposition media, but alas the report is true. The bridge has developed serious faults lines and is seriously cracking down and may soon start falling if nothing serious is down to save the huge project. What a disaster! The N16billion over-bloated poorly designed & executed project is about crashing down except urgent professional intervention is done,” he said.
Ezekwulu, who resigned as an appointee of the present Anambra State Government in 2019, also expressed worry over the poor infrastructural work done by the Obiano administration.
“Who has done this to Anambrarians, nay Igbo nation? My fear is not just the Awka overhead bridges but I am terrified more exceptionally, over the politically-propelled Anambra international cargo airport that has been shrouded in secrecy. The haste with which it is being done, may pose great risk to the lives of the expected international users. We should be very careful to avoid mass casualties that follow a poorly-designed and executed airport. Professionalism should be placed above selfish pecuniary interests. That supposedly ongoing construction works going on at umueri airport should be opened up for professional and public scrutiny. Anambra people should be wiser because this is our commonwealth that is being misused or wasted,” he advised.
As if to lend credence to the insinuations, the state government had constructed a barricade to prevent articulated vehicles from plying the flyover bridges.
But in a chat with TNC correspondent in Anambra on Friday, the State Commissioner for Works, Engr. Marcel Ifejiofor, said the Aroma Flyover is strong and safe, contrary to the insinuations and scaremongering on social media questioning the safety of bridge.
Engr. Ifejiofor, who noted he had gone on inspection of the bridge, stated that the alleged crack had nothing to do with the bridge, insisting that the integrity of the bridge was not compromised in any way.
He explained that the minor gap and the alleged crack, were on the side embankment which was added following an accident involving a big lorry on the Kwatta bridge.
Engr Ifejiofor insisted that the Aroma bridge was built to global standard, stressing that expansion was an intrinsic part of bridge construction and did not indicate a crack.
The Commissioner assured Anambra residents of the commitment of the Governor Obiano to the safety of lives at all times, stressing that the barricade on the bridges were normal safety measures against big lorries rolling back from the bridge.
In his remarks, the Construction Manager of IDC, Engr Yousssef Zghaib, who handled the project, explained that the embankment and the bridge were separate units and assured that there was no cause for alarm.